Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Snow Day

If you are like me you called in to work today and took a snow day, that is if your business wasn't closed.  Snow days are a good time to catch up on all those things that you don't do on a regular basis, like cleaning your jewelry.

In my last post I promised you some recipes for cleaning your jewelry, so here goes.

Here are 4 different ways to clean your jewelry.  Try the one you feel most comfortable with, or try them all and see which one works best for you.  Just want to put a disclaimer here, don't try it if you feel that it will ruin your jewelry.

Aluminum Foil Method

1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 tablespoon dish detergent
1 cup water
1 piece aluminum foil

Heat the water in the microwave for 1 or 2 minutes.
Cut a piece of foil that covers he bottom of a cereal bowl.
Pour the hot water into the bowl.  Add the salt, baking soda and dish washing liquid into the bowl and give it a stir.
Place the jewelry on top of the foil and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes.
Rinse jewelry in cool water and dry completely with soft cloth.
Discard the solution.  Make a new batch for each cleaning.

Note: take the jewelry out of the soak before pouring the water out to avoid accidentally washing it down the pipes.

This works well for gold-filled, brass and sterling silver. I have heard it works for freshwater pearls, cameos and mother of pearl, however I would be cautious with these items and may try another method first.

Ammonia Recipe

DO NOT use this method on pearl.Place 8 ounces of ammonia in a bowl and add a drop of dish detergent. Add 1/3 cup of water and stir. Place jewellry in the bowl for 10 minutes. After soaking rinse under running water. You may need to use a baby toothbrush on tough stains after it has soaked.

Note: take the jewelry out of the soak before pouring the water out to avoid accidentally washing it down the pipes.

Toothpaste Method

This is the easiest method, and it works well.  Wet an old toothbrush with a little water.  It's best to use a soft one or a baby toothbrush.  Spread alittle non abrasive toothpaste on the brush and scrub all sides of your jewelry.  Rinse the jewelry and make sure it's clean. If it isn't, scrub it again with the toothbrush and rinse one final time.  Dry with a clean soft cloth.  Be careful with soft stones using this method, they may scratch.

Ketchup Method

Yes you read that right. Using ketchup as a jewelry cleaner on your sterling silver and gold is safe, inexpensive and very effective. You can also clean sterling flatware, coffee and tea sets or any sterling silver hollow ware this way. I wouldn't us this method on gold plated or silver plated pieces.  Using ketchup is a lot less expensive than some jewelry cleaner products. This is primarily used when there is a light tarnish to be removed.

Pour some ketchup into a glass bowl and stir to remove any lumps that may have formed in the bottle.  Let stand until it reaches room temperature. Place the jewelry in the bowl and let stand for a few minutes checking frequently to see if the tarnish is being removed. This is a fairly slow method and is best for jewelry that only needs a light cleanup. If there are stubborn spots put a little ketchup on a soft toothbrush and gently scrub.
Leave the ketchup on the jewelry only as long as necessary.  Ketchup is an acid and can eat away too much of the surface if allowed to sit for too long. Check the pieces often.
Rinse the ketchup from the jewelry frequently with luke warm water to check the progress and repeat if necessary until you achieve the desired look.
Dry with a soft towel and buff with a terry cloth washcloth for a lustrous

If you have any other methods of cleaning jewelry at home post a comment here.


  1. Thank you for the tips! I'll have to try them out. :)

  2. I've used the toothpaste method on my rings in the past, it works well. I also soak my jewelry in warm water with dishsoap. It works great for rings since the dishsoap's job is to disolve oils and since there is no brushing, you don't have to worry about scrachting your stones or loosening your settings. :)

  3. Ah, the dishsoap method sounds easy, I like easy and I like that there isn't brushing involved either. Thank you Melissa.